Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Four Retiring Faculty Honored May 14 At Hynson-Ringgold House

Chestertown, MD, May 21, 2003 — Washington College has announced the retirement of four distinguished faculty members this spring: Robert Anderson, professor of philosophy; Colin Dickson, professor of French; Daniel Premo, the Louis L. Goldstein Professor in Public Affairs; and the College's Librarian William Tubbs. Fellow faculty, staff and family joined President John S. Toll at the Hynson-Ringgold House in Chestertown on Wednesday, May 14 to celebrate and to honor their years of service to the College and its students.
Dr. Anderson joined the faculty as assistant professor of philosophy in 1976, was promoted to associate professor in 1984, and was made full professor in 1988. In 1980, he was awarded the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. In addition to serving as chair of the Philosophy Department for several years, Dr. Anderson also was chair of the Humanities Division and of the Honors Program Committee. He has written on the Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, and has recently completed a book-length manuscript on Plato's Theaetetus. Dr. Anderson received his A.B. degree from Temple University in 1961 and both his M.S., in 1965, and his Ph.D., in 1976, from Yale University. With his powerful intellect and gift for teaching, Anderson has had a profound influence on the lives of his students. In his own quietly inspirational way, he has attracted majors to a field of study that epitomizes the liberal arts.
Dr. Dickson came to Washington College as assistant professor of French in 1971 and was promoted to associate professor in 1982 and to full professor in 1991. He has served as the chair of the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and has brought his voice of reason to his extensive committee work. He has chaired the Board of Student Publications, Lecture Series, Service & Scholarship Committee, and the Student Aid Committee, and was faculty adviser for several student exchanges. He holds his B.A. from Amherst College, and masters degrees in both physics and Romance languages, as well as his Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Dickson has made his mark as a scholar of Michel de Montaigne, as a gifted jazz musician, and as an inspirational teacher of French language, literature and film.
A former U.S. diplomat in Latin America, Dr. Premo joined the faculty as assistant professor of history and political science in 1970 and was promoted to associate professor in 1974 and to full professor in 1982. He won the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1987. Among his many appointments as a respected campus leader, Dr. Premo has served as chair of political science and international studies, chair of the Faculty Finance Committee, and as curator of the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs. He received his B.A. in Spanish and Social Science from Western Michigan University, and his M.A . and Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. At Washington College, he has been instrumental in developing international programs and model diplomacy programs that engage our students in the world, and, with his gift for teaching, has profoundly touched the lives of his students.
Professor Tubbs was named Librarian in 1983. Tenured in 1987, he was promoted to full professor in 1993. He has been responsible for initiating and implementing the information technologies that have ensured Washington College's position at the forefront of the digital information age. The 2000 external review of the Library praised his leadership of Miller Library in these words: “The physical collection is not large, especially in comparison with those of the wealthier of the College's self-selected peer institutions, but the range and depth of full text and other electronic resources accessible by the Washington College community is certainly comparable with all but the wealthiest of them.” Professor Tubbs received his B.A. in Mathematics from Davis and Elkins College in 1960, his M.Div. in History and Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1963, and his M.S. in Bibliography Reference from the School of Library Service at Columbia University in 1966.
“We are proud to honor the years and the commitment to the highest standards in education that these four have given to Washington College,” said Dr. John S. Toll, President of the College. “Each in his own way has imparted the priceless gift of wisdom and the value of on-going, life-long learning to generations of Washington College students.”

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Maryland College Awards Nation's Largest Undergraduate Literary Prize At 221st Commencement Ceremony

Senior from Lancaster, PA Wins $61,133

Chestertown, MD, May 18, 2003 — Most college seniors will look back on their graduation ceremony as a day of pomp and circumstance culminating in a handshake and a diploma. For Laura Maylene Walter, a 22-year-old English major at Washington College in Chestertown, MD, the ceremony brought another reward: a check for $61,133. Walter's portfolio of fiction and poetry earned her the largest undergraduate literary award in the country—the Sophie Kerr Prize.
The awarding of the Sophie Kerr Prize, given annually to the graduating senior who demonstrates the greatest “ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor,” has in recent decades been a highlight of the commencement ceremony at the 221-year-old liberal arts college. The Prize, worth $61,133 this year, is among the largest literary awards in the world. Washington College has awarded nearly one million dollars in prize money since it was first given in 1968, most often to writers of poetry and fiction. Scholarly and journalistic works, though less often selected, are given equal consideration. Walter's winning submission—a novel in progress and eight poems—was one of twenty-seven portfolios submitted for this year's prize.
“This was a difficult choice,” said Professor Bennett Lamond, who presided over the Sophie Kerr Prize Committee's deliberations. “There were some very strong writers among the pool.”
Professor Robert Mooney, Director of the College's creative writing program and O'Neill Literary House, cited Walter's “elegantly supple prose and the musical charm of her poetry” as decisive factors in the committee's selection of her portfolio. “Laura draws from her life without allowing the work to become enmeshed in the private unformed emotion or the trite; quite the contrary, her work investigates, through a brilliant use of language, those human moments that we all share and hold and are called upon to answer,” Mooney said.
In the introduction to her winning portfolio, Walter says her novel began as a response to the grief of her mother's illness and subsequent death two years ago. “After her death, I decided to transform these experiences into a work of fiction,” she wrote. “I investigated the ways we enter and leave this world, the power of memory, and how the past affects the present.”
The daughter of William J. Walter, Jr. of Florida, and the late June Walter of Lancaster, PA, Walter graduated summa cum laude with departmental honors in English. During her years as a student at Washington College, Walters was a writer for the student newspaper, the editor of a literary Broadsides series and a contributor to the Washington College Review, a liberal arts journal. She hopes to continue work on her novel while pursuing a career in publishing.
The Sophie Kerr Prize is the namesake of an Eastern Shore woman who made her fortune in New York, writing women's fiction during the 1930s and 1940s. In accordance with the terms of her will, one-half of the annual income from her bequest to the College is awarded each year to the graduating senior demonstrating the best potential for literary achievement. The other half funds scholarships, supports student publications and the purchase of books, and brings an array of visiting writers, editors and publishers to campus to read, visit classes and discuss student work. Her gift has provided the nucleus for an abundance of literary activity on the bucolic Eastern Shore campus.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

WC Professor Frank Creegan To Help Lead $1.5 Million NSF-Funded National Chemistry Education Project

Chestertown, MD, May 6, 2003 — The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $1.5 million to a team of chemists from Washington College, Franklin and Marshall College, Stony Brook University, Catholic University, and Sandia National Laboratories to introduce, promote, and disseminate nationwide an innovative method of teaching chemistry. Dr. Frank Creegan, W. Alton Jones Professor of Chemistry at Washington College, will serve as co-investigator in the four-year project. The method, “Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning” (POGIL), supplants the traditional lecture format with an environment in which students are actively engaged in mastering a discipline and in developing essential skills by working in self-managed teams on guided inquiry activities.
In recommending the award, the NSF review panel stated, “This project provides the very real possibility of jump-starting chemical education in the 21st century. ” Panelists went on to describe the project as, “a tremendous contribution to chemical education.”
“Washington College's chemistry faculty is student-oriented with an emphasis on undergraduate collaborative research,” said Dr. John S. Toll, President of Washington College, on learning of the award. “The POGIL methods for chemistry education that Dr. Creegan will investigate with his colleagues will not only offer us ways to expand chemistry education on our campus but will help improve science education across the nation.”
Grounded in current understanding of how students learn, POGIL focuses on developing important process skills in the areas of information processing, critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, communication, management, and assessment. Materials that facilitate the POGIL pedagogy have been developed, tested and are fully described at
The POGIL project would utilize a series of workshops, consultancies, on-site visits and video and web-based information to disseminate information about the POGIL approach for teaching undergraduate chemistry. Faculty will be provided with opportunities to participate in and develop effective student-centered learning approaches.
The goals of the project include the adoption of the POGIL approach by faculty at various institutions who will continue to innovate using student-centered teaching strategies; the creation of a network of experts to support this effort; the creation of a model for dissemination of innovative educational practices; and increased awareness of new learning and teaching practices.
Creegan holds a B. S. in chemistry from Merrimack College and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Fordham University. He is one of the charter members of MADCP, the Middle Atlantic Discovery Chemistry Project, and has developed numerous guided inquiry (discovery-based) experiments in organic chemistry, which now form the core of a yearlong course for science majors, as well as guided inquiry worksheets for a lectureless course in organic chemistry. Since 1993 he has presented in excess of two-dozen papers and posters at national and regional meetings on classroom and laboratory activities that use the POGIL approach to learning. In 1998-2001, with support from the NSF-funded New Traditions Project centered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the NSF-funded PSMETE fellowship program, Creegan helped mentor Dr. Andrei Straumanis in the development of set of POGIL worksheets that were converted into a book published in January 2003 by Houghton-Mifflin. Creegan is currently engaged in the development of a CD-based, modular laboratory manual for organic chemistry that follows the guided inquiry and learning cycle paradigms. The other co-investigators on the project are Rick Moog and James Spencer of Franklin and Marshall College, David Hanson of Stony Brook University, and Andrei Straumanis of Sandia National Laboratories. Diane Bunce of the Catholic University of America will conduct the project evaluation.
The NSF is an independent federal agency established by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950 to promote and advance scientific progress in the United States. Since its inception, the NSF has occupied a unique place among federal agencies, with responsibility for the overall health of science across all disciplines.